My news feed is flush with posts celebrating fresh goals and staking claim to bold and determined theme words as we all welcome in a new year.
But... in my house, like so many others recently, we've been digging out of sickness and all the 'behind on everything' that comes with it. In the last two weeks we've had covid, flu, surprise midnight vomiting, double ear infection, pink eye, and an allergic reaction to a medication. Not the whole family, and not all at once, but I haven't exactly been sitting down with pad and pen writing out my 2023 manifesto.
And I can't help but remember a moment about five years ago.
The kids were younger, still little people who come with big caretaking needs. So often I ended days feeling like I "got nothing done." One step forward, and about five backward. Many (most) days were spent non-stop on the go, but still my 'list' starred back at me unchecked. My husband knew my frustrations and for Christmas he bought me such a grand goal based planner that it came with a video to watch before you got started.
On New Year's Day I sat down with my new planner and the video that was meant to teach me how to crush life using it. And about half an hour in, I was heaving hard unexpected sobs. Because the gentleman who created the planner and video, took a moment as he discussed goal setting to acknowledge and validate the real life situations or seasons when despite our very best efforts we're limited in what we can accomplish.
He could have used any number of examples to make his point - battling disease, or perhaps dealing with grief or trauma. But for whatever reason, he specifically called out mothering young children. He used THAT as his example. Mothering young children - this was his example of a time in life that may pull so heavily on you that it provides unique intense challenges to goal setting.
Did I mention I cried? Sobbed actually. All because a voice on a video made me feel understood and seen. Not crazy. Validated. The fact that there ARE times we work SO hard, give our all, and still just can't cross off that goal - was recognized.
Being back in that moment today, this new year, with a family recovering from illness and feeling far from any new year proclamations, stirred up this old memory.
A new year feels fresh. And gosh, we all need to breathe that in. It can carry this great feeling of purging something old that wasn't serving us, and an opportunity to step forward with a clean slate. But it can also be overwhelming when we're in situations that make us feel behind before we even got started.
So in case you need the same reminder I needed today -
Your effort matters. Your resolve matters. Your resilience matters. Your character matters. Your hard work matters. Your heart matters.
Whether you've claimed a word for 2023. Whether you've got a vision board. Whether you've got a shiny new planner already filled out in color coded pen. Whether you've got long term and short term goals all set out. Whether you've already crossed a whole list of check boxes off on this first day. Or whether you've done NONE of that.
Keep stepping forward. But while you're doing it, look down and watch your feet - stepping forward.
Give yourself credit for what you've done.
Because you're doing it.
Some seasons ARE tough. And still you're stepping forward.
May we each breathe in that new year fresh air and be proud of whatever those steps look like.